Polk County

Lt. Pat Griffith



Local Girls Make Good in the WAC

Des Moines has been so busy being proud of having the WAC at its Fort that some detail of the achievement of the Des Moines girls who have gone into the corps has been lost.

Records speak for themselves. Des Moines girls have copped some of the prize WAC jobs. They hold ranks of private through captain. And they're stationed from Des Moines to the ends of the earth where the WAC is being sent.

One outstanding example of this is Capt. Clara Grace Han who has the assignment of all WAC enlistment leaving basic training centers and specialist schools.

On top of that she also assigns enlisted men from replacement training centers in chemical warfare, ordnance, finance and transportation.

While a civilian, Captain Han took part in a variety of activities. She was a supply teacher at Callanan Junior High, Roosevelt, Lincoln and East High schools. She was a member of the Y.W.C.A. council, junior high school adviser and in charge of the 'Y' summer school program.

She served for a time as chief of the book review section for the A.A.U.W. and gave frequent travel talks before church and club, basing them on a summer she spent in Europe when she took a group of girls for a cycling tour of European youth hostels.

While taking teacher training at the University of Michigan she headed a group of which blazed the 350-mile trail from Ann Arbor to Lake Michigan for the American youth hostels. Captain Han, civilian, was in Austria during the anschluss.

Assistant post adjutant at Fort Des Moines is the title of another Des Moines woman, Lieut. Helen Waldron Timm, who has had 18 months of service n the WAC.

Lieutenant Timm is the daughter of Mrs. Charles P. Waldron of Des Moines and Minneapolis. Her brother, Lieut. Charles P. Waldron, jr., is in the tank corps in Italy.

Lieutenant Timm came up "the hard way" as the army says, taking basic training at the First WAC Training center after which she entered the eight weeks course of bakers and cooks school. She was accepted for officer candidate later and received her commission Feb. 16, 1943.

She served as a company officer until Aug. 26, when she was made commanding officer of a basic training company in the First regiment.

And then after four and a half months she was assigned as adjutant of the First regiment at the post. Her most recent promotion, to assistant post adjutant, took place Mar. 6.

Lieutenant Timm was graduated from Roosevelt High and received her B.S. degree from Iowa State college at Ames.

One of the two 'junior' officers on Col. Oveta Culp Hobby's staff is Lieut. Pat Griffith, who was connected with Central Broadcasting company of Des Moines before enlisting in the WAC. While in Des Moines Lieutenant Griffith lived at 1511 Beaver ave.

Before attending officer candidate school, she worked in the public relations office at Fort Des Moines. She was commissioned last April and then attended the army special service school at Washington and Lee university and was special service officer at Newport News, Va.

She was assigned to Colonel Hobby's office in January.

Lieut. Margaret A. Sherman, former editor at Meredith Publishing company, is on duty with the war department bureau of public relations in Washington, D.C.

Selected from the ranks of the WAC to officer candidate school, she received her commission as second lieutenant March 16, 1943. From Fort Des Moines she went to Fort Devens, the Fourth WAC Training center, as assistant public relations officer.

Lieutenant Sherman's next assignment was to Colonel Hobby's office. Later she was on duty with the office of technical information, and upon discontinuance of this department she was detailed to work in the war department bureau of public relations, her recent assignment.

Source: The Des Moines Register, May 7, 1944 (photo included)


WAC Lieut. Pat Griffith, of Des Moines, Ia, looks over a Japanese aerial bomb. With a group from a WAC detachment in New Guinea, she spent some of her off duty time examining wreckage of Jap planes destroyed in air attacks preceding invasion by Allied forces. Lieutenant Griffith, who formerly lived at 1511 Beaver ave., was with the Central Broadcasting Co. of Des Moines four years before her enlistment. Before attending officer candidate school, she worked in the public relations office at Fort Des Moines. She was assigned last January as one of the two "junior" officers on Col. Oveta Culp Hobby's staff in Washington, D.C.

Source: The DesMoines Tribune, November 29, 1944 (photo included)